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Superstorm Sandy Takes a Mother's Home and Livelihood

November 28, 2012 11:01 am by

Although Superstorm Sandy has passed, many people who lost their homes or businesses, such as this woman in Rockaway (Queens), New York, are still suffering from very serious damage, and wondering how they will ever recover.

This small restaurant was without power, it was covered with mud throughout.  The refrigerator and all of the cooking equipment are ruined.

The restaurant is owned byYe Qing. She came to America 10 years ago from China.

The storm didn’t just take her restaurant, it also flooded her house, leaving her homeless.

After years of hard work for others, Ye Qing, 40, bought her own restaurant. She worked hard to make a future for her daughter, who is now 13.

“Whenever I look at the restaurant like this, I cry and cry and cry,” she said.

The restaurant was her pride. Ye Qing hand-selected all the fresh food herself each day, then prepared it in her restaurant for her customers. Her restaurant was always clean.  But it was difficult, too. The restaurant is in a rough neighborhood, and Ye Qing said that she has been robbed at gunpoint — once by her own customers.

On October 29, the day Superstorm Sandy hit New York, Ye Qing, who only speaks Mandarin, said she saw the police on the street outside, walking around. She didn’t know why they were there, and didn’t know that there was any problem.

But suddenly the storm hit and the flood water gushed into the restaurant.  Ye Qing was still in the restaurant. The water rose over her waist.  Her daughter grabbed her hand and they ran out of the restaurant.

At its highest level, the water reached the shelf area.  Everything in the restaurant was soaked and caked in mud. Everything was ruined.


Ye Qing was unable to reopen for business.

It total, all the equipment, pans, plates, utensils and ingredients that Ye Qing lost in her restaurant were worth more than $30,000, she said.  The dollar amount of the damage is more than she will be able to borrow from a bank to rebuild.  The restaurant is her only income for survival.

Although she had insurance, she didn’t have hurricane insurance, so the company won’t cover her loss, she said.

Ye Qing said she has nothing else, except for her daughter. She used all her savings to open the restaurant.

As a single mother with a young daughter, Ye Qing was already struggling to survive. Now her life is getting much more difficult. She doesn’t know what to do.

Her daughter tries to be strong for her mother: “The restaurant has been ruined. That’s no problem. We can rebuild it,” she says hopefully.

Ye Qing doesn’t know what to do, she feels sad and hopeless.

She went to Rep. Grace Meng, the assemblywoman for her Queens district, asking for help, but she was only given some contact phone numbers and an application form for food stamps.

Because she doesn’t speak English, Ye Qing was unable to telephone the agencies for information.

But more than that, food stamps won’t help her repair the restaurant so that Ye Qing can once again be independent and provide for her daughter.

As a single mother with a young daughter, Ye Qing was already struggling to survive. Now her life is getting much more difficult.  She doesn’t know what to do.

Sandy had passed, but the recovery is just starting. There are a lot of small businesses like Ye Qing’s restaurant.  They have lost their only source of income.

Sinovision news reporter Dizhi Ge said many small businesses were hurt during Sandy and many hope that the community will come together to help thoses who lost so much rebuild their lives.

And, she added, they hope government leaders will keep their election promises to help people after the disaster.


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